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Press Bulletin Series For the Oil and Gas Industry 

STATE OF ILLINOIS 

DVVIGHT H. GREEN, Governor 

DEPARTMENT OF REGISTRATION AND EDUCATION 

FRANK G. THOMPSON, Director 

DIVISION OF THE 



STATE GEOLOGICAL SURVEY G -^ \ \3S& 



M. M. LEIGHTON, Chief 
URBANA 



No. 42 ILLINOIS PETROLEUM July 15, 194 



DEVELOPMENTS IN EASTERN INTERIOR 
BASIN IN 1941 1 

ALFRED H. BELL 

ABSTRACT 

More wells were drilled in 1941 in Illinois and southwestern Indiana than in any 
previous year except 1907 when drilling reached a peak in that area. Drilling declined 
in western Kentucky, making the total number of completions in the Eastern Interior 
basin in 1941 slightly less than in 1940. Much of the 1941 drilling (both pool and wild- 
cat) was concentrated in the deep-basin area in the region of the lower Wabash River 
in Illinois and Indiana where 44 new pools and 43 extensions were discovered. None of 
the new pools was of major size and the total output of new wells in the whole area 
failed to offset the decline of the older wells. Total production from the Eastern Interior 
basin in 1941 is estimated at 145,603,000 barrels as compared with 154,796,000 barrels 
in 1940, a decline of 6 per cent. Percentage of the national total was 10.3 in 1941 as 
compared with 1 1.5 in 1940. 

Rocks of the Mississippian system continue to yield most of the oil in the area — 
91.5 per cent of the Illinois total of 133,750,000 barrels in 1941. No new Devonian 
production was discovered in Illinois in 1941 and the Devonian wells, which yielded 
an estimated 26 per cent of the Illinois total in 1940, produced only 6 per cent of the 
total in 1941. Pennsylvanian and Ordovician strata yielded estimated amounts of 1.7 
and 0.9 per cent, respectively. Geologic studies indicate that lenticular sand conditions 
are important in controlling the occurrence of the oil. 

1 Reprinted from Bull. Amer. Assoc. Petrol. Geol., Vol. 26, No. 6 (June, 1942), pp. 
1086-96. 



INTRODUCTION 

Much drilling, both pool and wildcat, many new discoveries, but 
no major pools, and a 6 per cent decline in production from the previ- 
ous year, were features of the 1941 record of the oil industry in the 
Eastern Interior basin. Drilling increased slightly in Illinois and south- 
western Indiana but declined in Kentucky, resulting in a slight de- 
cline for the whole basin. The following table compares the amount 
of drilling in 1940 and 1941. 

Number of Completed Wells 

IQ40 IQ4I 

Illinois 31829 3.838 

Southwestern Indiana 450 463 

Western Kentucky 401 314 

Total for basin 4,680 4 1615 

Total oil production from the Eastern Interior basin in 1941 is 
estimated at 145,603,000 barrels as compared with 154,796,000 barrels 
in 1940. The 1941 production was 10.3 per cent of the total for the 
United States as compared with 11.5 per cent in 1940. 



1086 



ILLINOIS STATE GEOLOGICAL SURVEY 




3 3051 00005 0835 



EASTERN INTERIOR BASIN IN ig 4 i 



1087 




Fig. 1. — Index map of the Eastern Interior basin and of Illinois basin 
(deep part of Eastern Interior basin). 



ILLINOIS 
EXPLORATORY DRILLING 

A total of 591 wildcat wells were drilled in Illinois in 1941, of which 
44 discovered new pools and 40 discovered extensions, that is, 1 wild- 
cat well in 7 was successful. Nearly all of this drilling was in the south- 
ern half of the state. The distribution of the wildcat drilling in 1941 
with respect to the Illinois basin (deep part of the Eastern Interior 
basin) is shown in Figure 2 and Table I. 

It may be seen in Table II that nearly all of the 1941 discoveries 
were in formations of Mississippian age. The pools discovered in Penn- 
sylvanian and Devonian formations were small. There was some 
development in the Devonian limestone in the Louden pool — 59 pro- 
ducing wells by the end of the year. The discovery well for Devonian 
production in the Louden pool was drilled in 1937, but further de- 



IOJ 



ALFRED 11. BELL 



TABLE I 

Distribution of Illinois Wildcat Wells 



No. of 
Wildcat Wells 



No. of 
New Pools 



No. of 
Extensions 



Illinois Basin counties 
Marginal counties 
Outside counties 

Total 



350 
158 

77 



34 
9 

1 



59i 



44 



37 
3 
o 



40 




Fig. 2. — Map showing distribution of Illinois wildcat drilling and di coveries 
in 1941 with respect to Illinois basin. 



velopment did not take place until 1941. During 1941, largely during 
the first 6 months, 99 Devonian wells in the Salem pool were deepened 
to the "Trenton" limestone in the Ordovician system. 



EASTERN INTERIOR BASIN IN 1941 



1089 



Mississippian formations continue to yield most of the oil in Illi- 
nois — an estimated 91.5 per cent in 1941. The Devonian limestone, 
which produced an estimated 26 per cent of the Illinois total in 1940, 
produced only about 6 per cent of the total in 1941. Pennsylvanian 
and Ordovician strata yielded estimated amounts of 1.7 and 0.9 per 
cent respectively during 1941. 

TABLE II 
Geological Distribution of Discoveries in Illinois in 1941 



System 
or Series 



Formation 
or "Sand" 



No. of 
New Pools 



No. of 
Extensions 



Total No. of 
Discoveries 



Pennsylvanian 

Pennsylvanian 
Upper Miss (Chester) 
Upper Miss. (Chester) 
Upper Miss. (Chester) 
Upper Miss. (Chester) 
Upper Miss. (Chester) 
Upper Miss. (Chester) 
Upper Miss. (Chester) 
Lower Miss. 
(Iowa) 



Devonian 



(Unnamed) 


1 


Buchanan 


2 


Palestine 


2 


Waltersburg 


1 


Tar Springs 


4 


Cypress 


4 


Paint Creek 




Bethel 


4 


Aux Vases 


6 


Rosiclare 


2 


Fredonia 




"McClosky" 


17 




1 



44 



14 



41 



1 

2 

2 

2 

11 

8 

2 

12 

11 

2 



31 

1 

8 S * 



* Gas well, shut in. 

** One well, discovering an extension of the Clay City pool, is producing from two sands, the Cypress 
and Bethel, making the total of discovery wells 84 instead of 85. 



GEOLOGIC FEATURES REVEALED BY NEW DRILLING 

Structural and stratigraphic studies now in progress indicate that 
the amount of closure on top of the Glen Dean limestone for many of 
the new pools discovered in 1941 is small. The lensing-out of the oil 
sand determines the updip boundary of the producing area in some 
instances, one of which is described in another paper on this program. 
The Johnsonville pool, the largest new pool developed during the year, 
is located on a dome of about 100 feet of closure on top of the Glen 
Dean limestone and covers an area of about 7 square miles. 

The Benton pool is located on a north-plunging anticline of about 
40 feet of closure on the top of the producing sand which is the Tar 
Springs sandstone. The producing area is bounded on the south on the 
highest part of the structure by tight sand, whereas on the north, east, 
and west the boundary parallels the structure contours. An exceptional 
condition was revealed in the Omaha pool where sills of igneous rock 
occur at several horizons, including that of the producing sand. 



1090 



ALFRED H. BELL 



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I0Q2 ALFRED H. BELL 

RESULTS OF DEEP TESTING 

Most of the deep drilling (see Table III) was located in counties 
west of the Illinois basin and there was little in the basin itself. The 
only deep test in the central part of the basin was the Pure Oil Com- 
pany's Mosely No. a, in the W. |, NW. \, SW. \ of Sec. 4, T. 2 N., 
R. 8 E., Clay County, which tested the Devonian limestone in the 
Clay City field (top of Devonian limestone 4,669 feet; total depth, 
4,840 feet). The well was deepened by cable tools from a former depth 
of 3,118 feet in the Ste. Genevieve limestone. At 4,820 feet the hole 
was bailed dry. Between 4,820 feet and the total depth of 4,840 feet, 
salt water containing hydrogen sulphide was encountered, which rose 
to a height of 1,400 feet in the hole. A sample analyzed by the Illinois 
Geological Survey had a total dissolved mineral content of 130,776 
parts per million. No showings of oil or porosity were noted in the 
limestone down to the top of the Dutch Creek sandstone. This well 
was located about one mile west of the crest of the Clay City anti- 
cline, as indicated by structural data on the Glen Dean limestone. In 
the absence of even a showing of oil, the chances for oil in the Devo- 
nian limestone on this structure seem slight. 

The St. Peter sandstone was tested in the Louden field, Fayette 
County, by the Carter Oil Company's J. Brauer No. 6D, in the center 
of the SE. I, SE. \ of Sec. 21, T. 8 N., R. 3 E. The total depth was 
4,679 feet. The well was plugged back to 3,026 feet to produce from 
the Devonian limestone. Streaked oil-saturation was encountered in 
the Kimmswick ("Trenton") limestone from 3,842 to 3,943 feet. The 
top of the "Trenton" was at 3,824 feet. A drill-stem test recovered no 
oil. The top of the St. Peter sandstone was at 4,421 feet. A core from 
4,464 to 4,486 feet consisted of 8 feet of tight sandstone overlying 13 
feet of porous friable sandstone and had no oil-showing. A drill-stem 
test at this depth recovered 450 feet of muddy water and 3,950 feet of 
clear water. 

Numerous tests to the Devonian and Trenton were drilled in the 
marginal areas west and north of the Illinois basin. Other noteworthy 
deep tests were a "Trenton" test in Jackson County, a Devonian test 
in Johnson County, and two on the LaSalle anticline in the South- 
eastern Illinois field, one to the Devonian in Crawford County and 
one to the "Trenton" in Lawrence County. 

SOUTHWESTERN INDIANA 

The following information on developments in southwestern In- 
diana was furnished by Ralph E. Esarey, State geologist, and Robert 
G. Reno, State gas supervisor, Indianapolis, Indiana. 



EASTERN INTERIOR BASIN IN 1941 1093 

During 1941, Indiana experienced a marked increase in drilling 
activity and prospecting over former years. Much of the development 
was concentrated in the southwestern part of the state which lies in 
the Eastern Interior coal basin. More than half of all wells drilled 
were located in Posey and Gibson counties, where the largest fields in 
the state have been opened in recent years. However, activity was 
widespread, with considerable core drilling and prospecting in the 
northern part, which includes the south flank of the Michigan basin. 
The old "Trenton" field of northeastern Indiana is receiving some at- 
tention as well as the Kankakee arch in the northwestern part. 

During the year 552 wells were drilled, of which 411 were field lo- 
cations and 141 were wildcats. This represents an increase of 32 wells 
over the year 1940. Of the field wells drilled, 260 were oil wells, 57 gas 
wells, and 94 dry holes. The wildcat wells included 16 oil wells that 
were potential pool openers or extensions, 3 commercial gas wells in 
the same area, and 122 dry holes. Approximately 25 per cent of all 
drilling was wildcat, with 11 per cent of it finding oil and 5 percent 
gas. 

Total production for the year will exceed 7 million barrels, which is 
the greatest since 1906. At the end of the year, 53 field wells and 34 
wildcats were being drilled. 

The Griffin field, in Gibson and Posey counties, continued to lead 
in drilling activity, with 157 completions. The field is practically de- 
fined on the east side and produces from five, or possibly six, pay zones, 
all of Chester or of Upper Mississippian age. The Devonian has not 
yet been tested. The total production for the field in 1941 is estimated 
in excess of 3 million barrels. The Ribeyre Island field, near New Har- 
mony, second largest producer, reported only two completions during 
the year. An extension of the Heussler field, also in Posey County, 
was discovered and resulted in 11 new completions and 4 dry holes. 
It ranks third in the state as a producing area, with practically all oil 
coming from the Waltersburg and Tar Springs sands. Two new fields 
were discovered in Posey County during the year, in addition to some 
good prospects. The Mt. Vernon pool, T. 7 S., R. 14 W., was opened 
by the Carter Oil Company's W. D. Maier No. 1, which found satura- 
tion in the Waltersburg and Tar Springs. The initial test was reported 
as 1,000 barrels daily. Seven other producers and no dry holes have 
been drilled to date. The Lamott pool, in T. 7 S., R. 12 W., produced 
55 barrels from the Tar Springs at about 1,950 feet. One additional 
well has been completed and one dry hole drilled in the area. One well 
in the Welborn-Switch area found commercial oil in the Cypress at 
2,500 feet, with an initial production of 33 barrels. The second well 



io 9 4 ALFRED H. BELL 

drilled was dry. To complete the operations in Posey County, 4 com- 
pletions were made in the Vienna pool in the Mansfield sandstone, and 
the College field was enlarged by three producers in the Aux Vases 
sandstone. 

In the Caborn field, the Tar Springs and Mansfield were opened as 
new pay zones with initial productions of more than 100 barrels. 

Gibson County had the following discoveries during the year. 

The Patoka field was opened by a 300-barrel well in the McClosky 
sand. 

A possible extension of the Mt. Carmel field was opened by a 24- 
barrel producer on the Indiana side. Another good prospect is known 
as the Johnson field, where production was found in the Mansfield 
sandstone at 1,105 feet. The area is in Sec. 31, T. 2 S., R. 12 W. Con- 
siderable excitement resulted from the McClosky test near Hazelton 
which had a reported initial production of more than 200 barrels. A 
second completion has resulted and several new locations are started. 
North of Francisco, a new area was opened by the Brown-Creselius 
well which made 25 barrels on the first production test. 

Vanderburgh County had one new pool opened, known as the 
Vernon pool, \ mile east of the Heussler field. Six completions have 
been made in the Mansfield sandstone, with initial flows of 25-30 bar- 
rels. 

The Hatfield pool was opened in Spencer County, with the discov- 
ery well making approximately 100 barrels in the Waltersburg sand. 
The area is "spotty"; it has seven producers and several dry holes. 
Drilling was active prior to the new Federal spacing law. 

The North Glendale gas field in Daviess County was opened and 
partly developed. There are now 7 producing wells in the Cypress, 
averaging more than 500,000 cubic feet daily, each. 

Pike County has a good prospect, which may be a pool opener, in 
the Patberg No. 1 which was reported as making 65 barrels from the 
Cypress. The small town of Stendal is near by, the name of which will 
be used for the field. 

The Laconia gas field, Harrison County, where production comes 
from the New Albany shale, had 6 completions and 3 dry holes. 

Decatur County had 12 gas wells completed in the "Trenton," and 
Randolph County had 4 "Trenton" gas wells completed in the Union- 
port field. Exclusive of Decatur and Randolph counties, there were 13 
gas wells, 1 oil well, and 7 dry holes drilled in the old "Trenton" field. 
An attempt is being made to revive the old Horton oil field in Hamil- 



EASTERN INTERIOR BASIN IN 1941 1095 

ton County, north of Indianapolis, where a 5-barrel "Trenton" well 
was completed. 

Interest continues to grow in northern Indiana. A Devonian well, 
reported at 47 barrels, opened the so-called Elkhart field in Elkhart 
County, which has been disappointing so far. 

The Anderson-Erb produced ^ million cubic feet of gas from the 
"Niagara" or Lower Silurian, in the Old Francisville pool in Pulaski 
County. No further production has been found near the well. 

In several other areas of the state small gas wells, showing pros- 
pects of new pools, were completed. In northern Indiana, core-testing 
and leasing has surpassed all other years. Large blocks of leases con- 
tinue to be assembled and a few production tests have been made. 

With increased wildcat drilling probably resulting from recent 
restrictions on drilling in pools, several new discoveries should be 
found in 1942. 

WESTERN KENTUCKY 

The following information on developments in western Kentucky 
was furnished by D. J. Jones, State geologist, Lexington, Kentucky. 

Oil and gas development in Kentucky west of the Cincinnati 
ardi for 1941 has decreased to some extent from that of the preceding 
year. Three hundred fourteen tests were reported, of which 153 were 
oil wells, 11 were gas wells, and 150 were dry holes as compared 
with 401 reported for 1940, of which 175 were oil wells, 10 were gas 
wells, and 216 were dry holes. 

Production for the state, due to the discovery of no large flush 
pools, decreased to a level of 4,852,618 barrels as compared with 
5,178,814 barrels for the year 1940. 

New productive territory was confined largely to the extension of 
proved areas. The deepening of old producers resulted in some addi- 
tional production in deeper pay zones. 

An extension of the Legrande pool in Hart County resulted in new 
"Corniferous" production. 

New discoveries in Union and Webster counties have increased in- 
terest in those counties. Production was found in sands of Pottsville 
age. These pools are in the early stages of development. 

Completions were reported from 21 counties testing formations 
from Pennsylvanian to Lower Ordovician. 

The sands of the Chester series have furnished most of the new pro- 
duction. These sands are found at shallow depths and offer an attrac- 
tive play to the small company and individual operator. 



1096 ALFRED H. BELL 

The Devonian and Silurian beds, particularly in the shallow areas 
east and south of the western coal basin, have had some drilling 
activity. This territory, because of the shallow depth to the "Cornif- 
erous," offers an attractive play. 

As a result of no showings of either oil or gas in any of the tests to 
the Knox dolomite in western Kentucky, there has been very little 
interest manifested in drilling to the deeper formations. Two tests to 
the Knox were reported.